Jump rope exercises are a great conditioning tool. Crossfitters to fighters to the regular gym goer all see great benefits to strength, balance and aerobic conditioning. 

Jump rope isn't ideal for those with knee pain, as the constant impact can have a negative impact on knee injuries.

If you need a low impact alternative to jump rope then read on as I list my top 10 low intensity alternatives to try that will keep you fit and strong. 

Adding in a jump rope to either a warm up or as part of conditioning work has plenty of benefits. It provides a full body workout, build muscle power and strength and can boost your athletic performance, to name a few.

I work with clients who cannot do jump rope due to injuries or they need a low impact exercise that still provides full body strengthening and improves cardiovascular health.

Here are my top 10 jump rope alternatives I give my clients for you to try today.

1. Fast Feet 

woman doing fast feet exercise

Fast feet are a great way to warm up but are not the highest in terms of calorie burning.

They will get your heart rate up and are a great drill for those who need to drill fast feet for any sort of sport like soccer. 


  • Increases heart rate and makes a great cardio workout.
  • Perfect for adding into HIIT or circuit workouts. 
  • Good for developing speed and agility. 

how To Do It:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Position yourself into a half squat and stick your arms out.
  3. Keep your core tight and run in place, ensuring that your feet don’t get too high.

Tips From A Trainer!

Stay low and use your arms to move feet as quickly as you can whilst trying to hold a steady rhythm. 

2. Jumping Jacks 

woman and man doing jumping jacks

Jumping jacks are like jump rope in that they have the same benefits and target similar muscles, but jacks don’t need equipment or extra space.


  • Improves aerobic capacity.
  • Improves metabolism and helps maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Great for strengthen the lower body muscles. 

How To Do It:

  1. Stand with your feet together and your arms relaxed at your side 
  2. In one move, jump so your feet are slightly over your shoulder width and your arms are overhead 
  3. Jump and bring your feet together and arms down into your original position in one move

Tips From A Trainer!

If you have knee issues that don't allow you to jump then try stepping one foot to the side as you sweep your hands overhead, then reverse the movement and come back to the starting position.

3. Squat Jumps 

Woman Doing Squat Jumps Outdoors

If you are looking for a tough but satisfying lower body workout that isn't as high impact as jump rope, squat jumps are a great option. 

This is a great option to work on explosive power and transfers over to better sports performance.


  • Builds a powerful lower body and strengthens leg muscles. 
  • Has a good transfer over to spots that require explosive movement and power.
  • Boosts aerobic and cardiovascular fitness levels.

How to Do It:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and lower yourself into a squat. Ensure that your knees do not go past your toes. 
  2. Jump up keeping both feet at the same height. 
  3. Land back into a squat in a controlled and soft manner. 
  4. Repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

Make sure you are getting into a squat position by sinking the hips down and not back. Use to arms to create momentum in the upwards vertical jump movement for more power. 

4. Skaters 

Woman Doing Skaters Exercise

Another low-impact substitute for jumping rope is the skaters' move. 

This exercise is great for joint pain and focuses on your core and calorie burning more than fast feet.


  • Improves lower body muscle endurance and strength.
  • Improves knee strength.
  • Reduced impact on the joints.

How To Do It:

  1. Start with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders with your arms at your side. 
  2. Bring one leg behind the other at an angle and bend your front knee. At the same time, swing your arm across your body. 
  3. Jump sideways and swap both your feet position and arms. 
  4. Repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

When pushing off and landing, make sure your knees are slightly bent to help absorb the impact.  

Related Article - Plyo Box Workout

5. High Knees 

woman doing high knees exercise outside

High knees are another classic jump rope substitute that focuses on your core.

High knees works the same muscles as jump rope exercises but creates less impact on the joints.


  • Perfect for cardiovascular fitness.
  • Activates the quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves.
  • Easy to add into conditioning sessions or HIIT workouts.

How To Do It:

  1. Standing with your feet hip-width apart and your arms out, palms facing down. 
  2. Lift a knee to your palm or chest. 
  3. Alternate between feet, keeping a good pace and one foot on the ground at a time.

Tips From A Trainer!

Make sure when doing high knees you take care to land softly to help protect your knees and impact on your joints.

6. Burpees 

Woman Doing Burpees

In my experience most people don't enjoy burpees but there is no denying how effective they are.

If you are looking to up the ante, burpees are a very intense full body workout that can be done anywhere with no equipment or jump rope required.

 Make sure you can do a squat, vertical jump and push up with good form before doing burpees, however if you can't perform this exercise you can try out burpee alternatives.


  • Builds good strength in the upper body muscles and improves lower body power.
  • Burns a lot of calories, fast.
  • Help improve endurance. 

How to Do it:

  1. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands at your sides. 
  2. Lower your body as if you are going to squat and hold your hands in front of you as if you’re about to do a push-up. 
  3. Shifting your weight to your hands, jump your feet back into the plank position, keeping your back straight and your glutes low. 
  4. Then jump your feet back to outside your hands roughly shoulder-width apart. 
  5. Explode up into a jump, keeping your weight on your heels. 
  6. As you land softly, lower your body into a squat and repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

If you need a jump rope alternative for bad knees the burpee is still suitable but you may need to miss out the jump. 

7. Mountain Climbers 

Man Doing Mountain Climbers

Another jump rope exercise alternative can be found in mountain climbers. 

This move exercises your entire body while increasing your heart rate. 


  • Great for cardio endurance.
  • Upper body muscles and shoulders are working to stabalize as you move your legs.
  • Very effective in working the core muscles. 

How To Do It:

  1. Get into a plank position with your back flat and glutes low, spreading your weight evenly between your hands and toes. 
  2. Engaging your core, pull your knee up and out next to your chest. 
  3. In one move, swap so your other knee is in this position, and the first leg is supporting you. 
  4. While keeping your hips down, run your knees in and out as fast as you can. 
  5. Alternate inhaling and exhaling with each leg change.

Tips From A Trainer!

Make sure your hips don't creep up and turn this into a downward dog. Your body should be in a straight line.  

8. Jumping Lunges 

Man Showing How To Do Jumping Lunges

Jumping lunges are both a solid warm-up and a killer lower body workout. The jumping action builds explosive energy through your legs. These are great for sports-specific training.

Lunge benefits include engaging multiple muscle groups such as the hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core, improving stability, coordination, and leg strength. They also enhance flexibility, balance, and overall athletic performance.


  • Strengthens the primary muscles in the lower body, including hip flexors.
  • Increases difficulty of a body weight lunge.
  • Increases cardiovascular fitness. 

How To Do It:

  1. Starting with one leg forward and the other behind. 
  2. Lower yourself into a deep lunge. 
  3. Explode into a jump, switching legs at the same time. 
  4. Softly land and lower yourself into a deep lunge.

Tips From A Trainer!

Repeat, keeping your torso straight and shoulders back. Make sure your front knee does not go past your toes.  

9. Elliptical Training 

Woman Training On An Elliptical In The Gym

Another low-impact alternative to jump rope is elliptical training. The elliptical machine simulate stair walking, jogging, or running without the hard impact.

The elliptical trainer is a common piece of cardio equipment found in most gyms. 

Using an elliptical machine according to manual instruction can see you developing your upper and lower body without damaging your joints. Seek help from a qualified trainer or doctor for more information.


  • A good low impact cardio workout and good for those who want to lose weight. 
  • Puts less stress on the joints.
  • Works both the upper body and lower body at the same time and improves coordination.[1]

How To Do It:

  1. Step onto the elliptical machine and grab the handles.
  2. To turn the monitor on, start pushing and pulling and pedalling feet at the same time.
  3. Set workout desired or choose manual.
  4. Continue to push and pull with the arms and legs simultaneously.
  5. Gradually increase time or intensity as fitness levels increase.

Tips From A Trainer!

Stand upright on the machine, don't lean forwards or backwards. You should be able to maintain balance well without leaning on the handles for support.  

10. Cycling 

Man Cycling Outdoors

Whether using a standard bicycle or a stationary bike at the gym, cycling is an excellent form of cardio that can help you get out of the house and move your body.

Cycling develops muscle strength, flexibility, and joint mobility. 

Cycling is also a good alternative to running, which is another high-impact sport. It is also possible to add resistance or use predetermined programs to get fit with a challenge on stationary bikes. 


  • Improves function and strength in the lower body.
  • Improves balance, coordination and posture.
  • Great low impact cardio exercise for those with joint issues. 

How To Do It:

  1. Set the stationary bike seat and handle bar to the correct height for you so that when you pedal you still have a slight bend in the knee and your not overreaching for the handle bar.
  2. To turn the monitor on, start pedalling.
  3. Set workout desired or choose manual.
  4. Gradually increase time or intensity as fitness levels increase.

Tips From A Trainer!

When cycling keep your head aligned with your beck and spine to avoid neck strain. 

Benefits Of Low-Impact Exercises Compared To Jump Rope

A jump rope workout, while fun, is considered a high-impact activity not suitable for tender joints.

If you find that running, jumping and other similar activities hurt your joints, you may want to try other alternative sports like cycling.[2]

Low-impact exercises are available as jump rope alternatives for bad knees and come with the following benefits: 

  • Low-impact exercise 
  • Burn calories and build muscles 
  • Improved mobility 
  • Stress relief 
  • Joint and muscle stability 
  • Aid in active recovery 
  • Good for those new to strength training 

Whether at home or at the gym, there is sure to be a regime that works for you.

Exercise Tips For People With Bad Knees

Don’t Add Weight Or Resistance 

If you find that you suffer from sensitive or weak joints, we do not recommend adding resistance or weight to your exercises. This extra force on top of your body weight causes extra stress to your joints and could cause injury or pain.  

Warm-Up & Cool Down 

As easy as it is to assume that you can skip your warm-ups and cool-downs, that could be detrimental to your progress and joints. Properly adhering to thorough stretches before and after your session can prevent injuries and adequately ensure your body is primed for a workout.

Consult With Your Doctor 

If you find yourself wanting to get into working out or to add weights and resistance to your sessions, we highly recommend speaking with your doctor beforehand. Talking to your doctor will help you decide on a personalized regimen to protect your joints and achieve your goals. 

How To Make A DIY Jump Rope For At-Home Workouts

Want to try out skipping rope exercises but can’t afford or borrow one? You can easily make one at home.


  • 21-27 shopping bags 
  • Scissors 
  • Duct tape 


  1. Cut the handles and bottom seams of your shopping bags
  2. Spread open the bag, so it looks like a ring.
  3. Make six plastic rings.
  4. Lay one plastic ring over another ring and pull it under and the top one over.
  5. Pull the ends of each ring apart, making the knot smaller and letting the air out as you pull. Make the knot as small as possible.
  6. Make two more in the same fashion and lay them each in a line top to bottom.
  7. Use duct tape to hold the ends together on one side and use a heavy object to weigh it down.
  8. Braid the plastic bags, making sure to let all the air out and tighten as much as possible. Three bags should be braided to be around 12 inches long.
  9. Add a ring to each end. Continuing to braid and add rings.
  10. Repeat until the rope is as long as you need it to be.
  11. Wrap duct tape around the end when you are done.

Common Jump Rope FAQs

Which exercise on our list is best for losing weight? 

The weight loss journey looks different for everyone, but some key factors include eating well, resting well, and being consistent in your fitness routine. In terms of specific exercises that are good for weight loss, the higher intensity moves such as burpees and jumping lunges can be part of this journey. 

How do you use a ropeless jump rope? 

To use a ropeless jump rope, hold one handle in each hand and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Then, move your wrists in a circle and jump when they are angled down. For the more technical models, see the product's instructions for details.

Is jump rope better than running or cardio? 

Jump ropes offer a higher-intensity cardio workout, but both activities use the leg muscles for propulsion and the core for trunk stabilization. If you are pressed for time, use a jump rope, but for more extended periods, try cycling. 


High-impact workouts are good cardio that can be painful for some with knee issues. I've given you the best jump rope alternatives so you are able to improve cardiovascular health and protect your joints.

No matter what your fitness level, getting fit is everyone – check in with your doctor to decide which low-impact exercises are right for your journey.




Jo Taylor

Jo Taylor

Hi, I’m Jo. I love sunrise swims, cold water immersion and cats. I have been dedicated to strength training for the past 14 years. I became a qualified Personal Trainer in 2020, and am passionate about helping my clients get stronger. Visit Jo Taylors Website